ISLAMABAD - Worst sort of power loadshedding is expected from next month following a decision of the provinces to close all canals in December under their annual silt removing campaign.

Official sources well aware of the development informed TheNation on the condition of anonymity that increased power shortfall is expected to start from December due to reduced hydel power generation and also because of a proposed three-month long gas supply suspension plan.

Following a decision of all provincial governments to launch annual canal closure from December and a ready schedule of Indus River System Authority (IRSA) about water release from both Mangalla and Terbella dam, it is feared that power shortfall in December and January would go above 4,000MW in the country due to reduced hydel power production and also because of a proposed three-month long gas supply suspension plan of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources, they added.

Quoting IRSA’s ready water release plan for both water reservoirs of the country to meet certain water related needs of the country during upcoming December, they also said that around 55,000cusec of water release would be reduced, which would cause additional power shortfall of 2000MW besides estimated above two thousand units of power shortfall. At present, both finance and power ministries are trying very hard to arrange additional furnace oil for thermal power plants to meet the burgeoning expected demand of power in near future, they added.

Owing to expected acute gas shortage in the winter season, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has so far approved suspending natural gas supply for next three months to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), industrial, commercial, fertiliser and power sectors of the Punjab province while a similar plan for rest of three provinces is also on the cards. However, a final decision about this plan would be taken by the cabinet’s economic coordination committee (ECC).

A senior official at petroleum ministry while talking to this scribe said that natural gas production during December, January and February would be around 4.15 billion cubic feet per day while the demand would be above 6 billion cubic feet. And, there is even a fear of worse shortfall of natural gas due to expected increase in the gas demand in the chilling season, which in result would ultimately affect the provision of gas to the domestic gas consumers as per their growing demands.

Earlier, water and power ministry has requested the premier to exempt the power plants from proposed gas supply suspension plan for next three months of December, January, and February. But, petroleum ministry has so far declined to provide natural gas to the power plants.

“For the first time in the history of the country gas supply would be suspended to these sectors of Punjab,” a senior official at the Petroleum Ministry had earlier said, adding, “Common man would bear the heavy brunt of gas shortfall and reduced power generation through hydel power sources during extreme winter.”

It is to note here that expected additional power shortfall due to reduced hydel power production coupled with proposed gas suspension plan if approved would worsened the miseries of common man already facing high tariff. While, energy crisis of the country would witness its extreme during almost freezing winter.